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SALTA & THE NORTH WEST

Salta & The North West
The northwest is a relatively unknown region of Argentina and Salta is the centre from which to explore this spectacularly varied region. The multi-coloured valleys and canyons of Calchaques twist and turn down to Cafayate from where you can visit the ancient pre-Inca ruins of Quilmes, or walk through narrow canyons to hidden waterfalls, or, sample wine from the many vineyards in the area.
To the north of Salta the Andean foothills contain friendly Amerindian towns, Inca ruins and salt flats lined with pink flamingos. The famous ‘tren a la nubes’ train to the clouds, the highest in the world runs up to the Chilean border to an altitude of 4220m. The train crosses 29 bridges, 13 viaducts, has 2 sets of switchbacks and goes through 21 tunnels, and contains some of the best scenery in the region.

The northwest region is best done over 5 days with your own car hire, which we are happy to arrange for you

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Below is a list of things to see and do around Salta, though we are able to create any itinerary depending on your interests. The norththwest can also be incorporated into a larger trip that includes northern Chile.
 
Tren de las nubes- Train to the clouds. This monumental engineering work, built in 1932, begins in Salta and ends in La Polvarilla – the highest point at 4220m. The trip takes approximately 15 hours and passes through some of the most striking scenery in the region.
 
Salta to Cafayate. We would recommend at least 2 days for this area. The drive south is stunning, zigzagging through multi coloured canyons, wind carved rock formations, and quaint villages. Cafayate is the northwest’s wine producing area, and a great place to hire a bike and sample the wines.

From Cafayate it is possible to continue further south to Mendoza, though allow a further week.
Ruins of Quilmes. One of very few pre-Inca remains, the site is spread across the Andean foothills, interlaced with some beautiful cacti.
 
Cafayate to Cachi. The road hugs the Andean range, as you pass through adobe villages. The town of Molinos has a lovely 17th century church and an alpaca market. Cachi is a lovely town, whose inhabitants are descendants of the Chicoanas Indians. 17th century churches and cobbled alleyways make this a good town to explore on foot.
 
Cachi to Salta. This southern circuit ends with an incredible crossing of the Andes. Driving through Los Cardones National Park, famed for its cacti we continue climbing before reaching the highest point of 3348m, from here the view is stunning with a sea of cloud below. The descent passes through the whole range of vegetation from desert to rain forest within an hour.
 
Salta to Humahuaca. The road north to Humahuaca follows a deep canyon rich in minerals, with Indian hamlets dotting the landscape. We visit Tilcara where excavations of an Inca village have revealed stone houses. We end up in Humahaca, famed for its mountain with seven colours, aptly named painters pallet.
 
Baritu National Park. For those seeking adventure, there is the opportunity of some white water rafting. The national park is situated inside Bolivia, and receives approximately 20 visitors a year, it is a remote wilderness. We plan a 5-day/4-night trip to raft through the national park.
Recommended lodges in this area:

Salta and the Northwest
The Legado Mitico in Salta is a hotel like no other in the region.  The internal decor is warm and inviting, capturing the city’s colonial past, whilst the rooms are spacious and full of natural light.
Salta and the Northwest
Patios de Cafayate is one of the most memorable places to stay in northern Argentina.  The hotel has courtyards, water fountains benches nestled under small trees and superb grounds, which make it a stunning place just to walk around. 
Salta and the Northwest
The house of Jasmines is an absolutely beautiful property. This 100 year old house has been carefully crafted into a professionally run and yet very personalised little hotel. No-where else in the area comes close to what the Jasmines offers.